Sun 28 Dec 2008
… and I don’t know if it’s because today is Sunday or what, but I’m in the mood to offer, as today’s “12 Days of Christmas” countdown in sparkling wine and Champagne, an example of the real stuff, the A.R Lenoble Brut Nature.
The house of A.R. Lenoble goes back to 1915, when Armand-Raphael Graser, a native of Alsace, fled the region, then in German hands, and settled with his family in Champagne. By 1920, he was producing and selling Champagne under the A.R. Lenoble name. The house is still in family hands, operated now by the founder’s great-granddaughter and great-grandson.
A classic blend of 40 percent chardonnay, 30 percent pinot noir and 30 percent pinot meunier, the A.R. Lenoble Brut Nature is a matter of infinite tinsels bound into a vibrant tensile whole, like a Chopin Nocturne whose traceries barely conceal its powerful structure and inevitable harmonic relationships. The color is palest gold; the seething, twisting bubbles race like mad to the surface. This bone-dry Champagne is clean, light, fresh and delicate, a connoisseur’s Champagne. First come aromas of pears, biscuits, wet stones and a touch of citrus, and then a few moments in the glass bring notes of spiced apple, melon and limestone. It’s remarkably crisp and refreshing, with brisk acidity that sets the palate tingling, yet delivering a texture that’s smooth and slightly creamy. The finish leans on chalk and limestone for a touch of elegant austerity. I opened this bottle while cooking Christmas Eve dinner, and, oops, it was gone. Excellent. About $35 to $40.
Opici Import Co., Glen Rock, N.J.